From a reader…
I have known many people who will change “Holy Ghost” to “Holy Spirit” the moment they come across it in a prayer, about as readily as they may switch “thee, thou and thy” to “you, you, and your.” I know that changing the words of a prayer because you don’t like something is wrong, but this goes both ways. Can a person legitimately revert back to the use of “Holy Ghost” in, say, private use of the Divine Office, or public praying of the Rosary? And is there an objective superiority of the one term over the other, other than the fact that one is a clearer cognate of the Latin, while the other is more traditional and frankly more English?
As far as I’m concerned we can use both, interchangeably.
I’m pretty sure that we English speakers have traditionally used Holy Ghost because of early translations of Holy Writ, namely the King James Bible and the Douay Rheims, even though both those Bibles use both Ghost and Spirit (fewer times). It became a matter of common parlance. People memorized traditional prayers with Ghost. We sang hymns with Ghost.
Ghost, related to German Geist (which is used today for the Holy Spirit), in its roots is any sort of spirit. Ghost often translated Bible Greek pneuma and Latin spiritus.
I think we should also use archaic words in our prayers, private and congregational. Prayer should be from and of the heart, but we can use he richness of our language to express ourselves, even in solidarity with our forebears.
Any way, I don’t think all the old words are about to give up the ghost quite yet.